Tyras (Ancient Greek: Τύρας) was an ancient Greek city on the northern coast of the Black Sea. It was founded by colonists from Miletus, probably about 600 BC. The city was situated some 10 km from the mouth of the Tyras River, which is now called the Dniester. The surrounding native tribe was called the Tyragetae. The ruins of Tyras are now located in the modern city of Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi in the Odessa Oblast of Ukraine.

Remains of Roman Tyras, near the mediaeval Genoese walls of the Maurocastro.
Tyras is located near the Black Sea coast in southwestern Ukraine.
Tyras is located near the Black Sea coast in southwestern Ukraine.
Shown within Ukraine
LocationBilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine
Coordinates46°12′3″N 30°21′6″E / 46.20083°N 30.35167°ECoordinates: 46°12′3″N 30°21′6″E / 46.20083°N 30.35167°E
BuilderSettlers from Miletus
FoundedApproximately 600 BC
AbandonedLate 4th century AD
PeriodsArchaic Greek to Roman Imperial
CulturesGreek, Roman
Site notes
Public accessYes
Greek colonies of the Northern Euxine Sea (Black Sea)
Tyras and the other Greek colonies along the north coast of the Black Sea, 8th to 3rd century BCE


Of no great importance in early times, in the 2nd century BC Tyras fell under the dominion of native kings whose names appear on its coins, and it was destroyed by the Getae about 50 BC.

In 56 AD, it seems to have been restored by the Romans under Nero and henceforth formed part of the province of Lower Moesia. There exists a series of its coins with heads of emperors from Domitian to Alexander Severus.

Indeed, the autonomous minting of coins in the city, called by the Romans Alba Julia, lasted from the time of the emperor Domitian (81 AD) up to the end of the reign of the emperor Alexander Severus (235 AD) with few breaks. The coins of Tyras of this period were of copper with the portraits of the members of the Imperial house for the province of the Roman Empire.

In Tyras was stationed a small unit of the Roman fleet, Classis Flavia Moesica.

Soon after the time of Alexander Severus, it was partially destroyed by the Goths, but archaeological findings show that Romans remained there until the end of the 4th century under Theodosius I. Later the Byzantines renamed the city, destroyed by barbarian invasions, with the new name Maurokastron "black fort".

Its government was in the hands of five archons, a senate, a popular assembly and a registrar. The images on its coins suggest a trade in wheat, wine and fish. The few inscriptions are also mostly concerned with trade.

Remains of the city are scanty, as its site has been covered by the great medieval fortress called by the Genoese Maurocastro (and later Akkerman/Cetatea Alba).


  •  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEllis Minns (1911). "Tyras" . In Chisholm, Hugh (ed.). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. This work in turn cites:
    • E. H. Minns. Scythians and Greeks (Cambridge, 1909)
    • V. V. Latyshev, Inscriptiones Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Euxini, Volume I.

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